Work from home staples to invest in

How to optimize productivity amidst online learning

Products that make online school more bearable.
Photo: 

Online school makes me contemplate becoming a self-made hermit—but I’ve genuinely come to enjoy the small things that keep my routine exciting.

Sometimes, all it takes is scrapbooking with aesthetically pleasing pens or working at a standing desk to keep my spirits up. As we all navigate the next five weeks of online learning, here are my tips to make online learning more bearable and organized.

Moleskin planners

During the school year, my closest confidant is my Moleskin journal.

Online school is a breeding ground for sneaky Zoom meetings and neglected assignments, so writing all my tasks in a planner at the start of the week keeps me on track.

As a public advocate for cute stickers and aesthetically pleasing layouts, I treat my journal like a scrapbooking page. If I must romanticize my tutorial time slots and due dates to make online school more bearable, I’ll do it.  

Several stores in downtown Kingston—including Staples, Midori Gifts, and Minotaur—sell stationary at a relatively reasonable price. Right now, Moleskins are only $15 on Amazon

Establish a loyalty to a pen brand

There’s nothing like the feeling of opening a fresh package of your favourite pens. If I don’t have a MUJI pen on my person, I simply will not get work done.

It pains me to come clean about this, but I have left the library on occasion when I arrived stationarily unprepared. That’s right—I’d rather walk back to my student house than use another brand of pen.

While my pen uniformity helps my productivity, it also gives me a god complex. I would suggest you find a brand of stationery that you love, but please be wary of escalating into the level of pen bigotry I’m currently harbouring.

Ergonomically friendly desks

In my first year at Queen’s, I was on the receiving end of a standing desk soliloquy in my Social Determinants of Health class.

I listened as my teacher discussed the dangers of sedentary behaviour. I nodded, pretending I understood what that meant. Sedentary behaviour—ah yes, of course!

Our professor told us excessive time spent sitting down being physically inactive can lead to lower productivity, joint issues, obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Horrified, I left class and manically sped walked around campus for half an hour, hoping to reverse the hours I’d spent sitting in Douglas that semester.

Now, I’m a standing-desk promoter.

There are some relatively inexpensive standing desks on Amazon, and you can try your luck on Facebook marketplace for a used one. I only have a standing desk in my family home, so when I’m in my student house, I work standing up at the kitchen counter when I remember that harrowing class in first year.

If a standing desk is financially or spatially unrealistic in your student home, try to find a surface at elbow level to do some work at.

All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to journal_editors@ams.queensu.ca.

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.